At some point, Christians stopped writing Jesus fanfic, which is a crying shame.
Why? Because mythmaking is a necessary part of how the Holy Spirit speaks reality into being, and being familiar with how to make stuff up is a necessary prerequisite for being authentically inspired. Thus, more of us modern folks should get good at making myths.
So I’ve given it a go. What follows is a myth I fabricated today, thousands of years later, describing the detailed events that happened during Epiphany: the visit of the Wise Men / Kings to Jesus in Bethlehem, which most of Christianity will celebrate tomorrow, January 6th. I wrote it with the understanding that those figures were powerful magicians – mages, not just ‘wise men’.
I’ve titled it “The Secret Book of the Magi” in the style of much of the Jesus fanfic of late antiquity of which there are many examples. Many were recovered in the Nag Hammadi dig, and others are part of collections that were not suppressed, just don’t count as Scripture. Secret Books (apocrypha) tell things that aren’t in canon, and that often gift the reader with powerful or useful knowledge. You can look at this one as an example of how to do that, as well as being a tool for you to use as written for your own magical practice.
There are two points I really want to underline about this myth:
1. This is Jesus fanfic, just as the Gospels are also fanfic. That is, I am not claiming that this is a report of documentable events. That’s not how myths work. But the story it tells is true in very real and concrete and important ways. And it tells the reader about who God is and who the people involved in God’s story are.
2. This myth was entirely fabricated. Not ‘revealed’ to me or ‘discovered’ by me or ‘divined’ in any way. I made it up. But it can certainly be said to have been inspired. Relatedly, “epiphany” means manifestation or appearance, which is perfect for the themes of myth in general.
My myth fits in between verses 11 and 12 of the second chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew (which I’ve copy/pasted from the NRSV in red here making only a few smol edits) and it works best read aloud. Below the ‘book’ are some suggestions for how you can use this myth in your magical practice. Enjoy!
THE SECRET BOOK OF THE MAGI
 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, mages from the East came to Jerusalem,  asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”  When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him;  and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.  They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to rule/shepherd my people Israel.’”
 Then Herod secretly called for the mages and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared.  Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”  When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.  On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
This secret book tells more of the magi and what they did that night.
These three powerful mages had come to the City of David, three kings, three scholars of the sky, for they wished to honor the Christ child and to give him a gift of surpassing excellence, a great and powerful artifact, which could only be made under that particular sky.
And they surrounded the holy babe and his blessed mother. Each brought with him a treasure chest filled with gifts for the newborn King. Melchior, the Persian King, opened his treasure chest, revealing a mountain of gold coins, gold ingots, bright stones, crystals, and jewels, and adornments of every kind, saying: “These I offer to you, O King – everything within – But tonight, especially this,” and from among these he chose a crown of delicate wrought gold, trapping jewels of many kinds in its spun threads and forming pinnacles that glittered and shone. And he knelt before Mary and her son and held it forth.
And Balthazar, the Arabian King, opened his treasure chest revealing papers and scripts, writing implements and inks, linen garments and dyes, and richly embroidered cloths, saying: “These I offer to you, O King – everything within – But tonight, especially this,” and from among these he chose a decorated bottle, stoppered and sealed, marked with sigils and words of power, and containing the traditional oil for consecrating the dead – the unguent of myrrh. And he knelt before Mary and her son and held it forth.
And Gaspar, the Indian King, opened his treasure chest and within it were herbs and spices, tinctures and distillations, pastes and gels and powders fine, and with them scrolls with all the records of songs, rubrics and procedures, spells and incantations necessary to utilize them, saying: “These I offer to you, O King – everything within – But tonight, especially this,” and from among these he chose a pouch of frankincense, an altar offering of solidified sunlight whose perfumes rise as smoke to please God above. And he knelt before Mary and her son and held it forth.
And Mary, mother of Jesus, received all their treasures in keeping for her son.
And the mages looked to the sky and when the time was right, they took the crown of gold and placed it upon a high place saying together, “He is king,” and they dressed the crown with the oil of myrrh, saying together, “of the Dead,” and they lit the frankincense and suffumigated the crown, saying together, “and we worship him.”
And they did awesome magic and enchanted the crown, imbuing it with formidable powers for the wearer: Powers of rulership that one’s edict would prove true. Powers over the dead such that one could command them, communicate with them, raise them, and be protected among them in their land. And powers of the sun that no darkness could obscure the truth from the wearer, but illuminate all dark places and uncover all hidden things.
And they presented the crown to Mary for safeguarding until the time when the Christ himself died and came into his royal kingship thereby. And they bowed low and touched their foreheads to the ground, and they rose up and lifted their hands to the heavens and they praised God and sang to the Christ child songs and honored him. And they were overcome and saw visions and heard words and fell into a deep sleep and dreamed.
 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Here are some suggested possibilities of how to use this myth:
- Make offerings on epiphany (the annual feast day celebrating this encounter as it occurs in scripture) of gold (a gold dollar coin), frankincense (a few resin crystals), and myrrh (a few drops) tossed into a hearthfire, and then worship Jesus Christ as they did. This is a purely devotional option with nothing you ‘get’ out of it.
- Make a magical artifact – maybe not at Epiphany, but whenever astrological/astronomical conditions favor the thing you want to make. Bring two of your friends. Pretend to be the magi and as they did on that night, you will do on this night, making a ‘copy’ of that artifact of lore. Instead of just reading this story aloud, you would act it out as a pageant.
- Tell the story as you induce a trance state in which you, like the magi, can see visions and hear words and dream portentous dreams that help you overthrow tyrants.
- Invoke Mary Keeper of Treasures and ask her to bestow her son’s gifts on you – whatever she thinks is appropriate – for your working, from her stores of treasures in the mages’ gift chests.
Each of these are examples of historiolic magic where you tell the mythic story as part of a magic ritual, and draw parallels from it to what you are doing now. And you are allowed, even encouraged, to alter the myth to better suit your situation. The magi can pick different things out of those chests! Maybe they don’t make a crown, they make a ring. Maybe the crown protects from fever rather than giving the powers I listed. Maybe you want to emphasize certain elements of the putative sky then – a conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Leo, say – and you can write that into the story. Myths are for being modified, adjusted, retconned, augmented, and re-written over and over again. So take this one and make it yours.